EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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Eye of the Optimist-humanism

Neo-liberalism is inherently antithetic to the politically liberal notion of humanism. With the political direction of neo-liberalism today, many anti-social and inhumane ideas and forces have gained influence and power. Not only do they reject humanism and block social and democratic development, they are even destroying social and democratic development. Various states represent and carry out inhumane projects and policies, such as Turkey, the USA, the UK, Republic of Korea. Such has been the course of the Canadian government over the past two decades under Liberal Party and Conservative government, too; that is, until now.

While not ignoring the class and corporate bias of the reformed or restored Canadian Liberal Party of today, it is meaningful that it has chosen to stand for and practice humanism, which is the orginal stance of the Canadian Liberal Party in the old heyday. Whatever some leftist bodies may pronounce about this situation, it is true that positive social adjustments are going on. The new Prime Minister was sworn in yesterday, and everyone could see that he is carrying through with some initial election promises for socially positive change. For example, the new cabinet is multicultural and half of its positions are filled by women. In fact, the new Justice Minister is an aboriginal person, the first such appointment in history. Furthermore, an aboriginal ceremonial rite was part of the swearing-in proceedings.  These are not merely token measures, because women and minorities are generally oppressed, and even promotion of the more affluent among them is socially positive. Also, the respect and inclusion of Aboriginal people is important, especially in a role overseeing the justice system because, for one thing, incarcerations of Aboriginal and Metis people are disproportionate with respect to the overall prison population and, for another, an investigation into the disappearance of over 1,000 missing women who are mostly Aboriginal or Metis is long overdue.

One could take a recalcitrant position of claiming that the Liberal Party is still the Liberal Party and focus on criticism of past actions and policies. However, one should look at the substance and deeds of the present. There is an honest pledge to be more socially responsible on the part of Prime Minister Trudeau  Junior and his party, and not without criticism of the party under Trudeau Senior. It so happens that this party has opted to be the valid social reform party, which the New Democratic Party did not do, apparently.

Yes, there are the warnings of being charmed by the line, "capitalism with a human face." The point is well taken. However, we must understand the day and age of rising fascism and anti-humanism words and deeds, and put the political developments in Canada and other more moderate or progressively leaning states into the present context. Any rejection of fascist and anti-people ideas and deeds is welcome, in my books. I would go further and suggest that the potential for actual social progress has been greatly increased in Canada. We should defend that direction and shed our biases about the personalities and entities that happen to do so and unite for humanism, social justice and peace, applaud positive developments and do our best to push for more progress while organizing communities for long term substantive social change that benefits the people and the ecological environment.

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